Jan 3, 2013


The first time I ever saw the Tunisian flag, if I record correctly, was in 2002 FIFA World Cup, the world's biggest soccer competition. Turkey also participated in this tournament, and I was intrigued to know the difference between the two flags, and the World Cup album helped. Look at album's cover:

[This image is copyrighted by Panini. I'll use it in fair use.]

What are the most novel flags in this album, in your opinion? It's possible that you pointed Tunisia flag. If you don't know what flag is this, here's a biggest flag:

The genial touch in this flag is the optical illusion: depending of angle, sometimes you see the red crescent and star, sometimes you see the white part. It's a less glamorous version of Mona Lisa's smile.

By the way, do you know the origin of the stars and crescent symbol? It comes from the Ottoman flag (that Turkey still uses), no bigger apparent symbolism. Carthage (that included current Tunisia) is one of the first, if not the first, civilization to use the crescent moon as a religious symbol, but it's hard to say if there's a relation.

The crescent use has disputed origins. Some historians say that the crescent was used by Turk peoples many centuries before it appeared (but the Byzantines and others, too). There's a version that says that it appeared in a dream by Oman I (the founder of Ottoman dynasty). If it's the true origin, there are doubts, but the fact is that it was on the flag of Constantinople when the Ottoman conquered it. And maybe it became, by extension, the flag of all the empire.

And the most impressive part: the Romans probably adopted it in honor to Diana, the Roman moon goddess, a counterpart of Greek mythology's Artemis. So there's a great possibility that the crescent moon has pagan origins. It's the flag of the Turks, not of all Muslims. And it only became a symbol of Muslim faith in Western eyes because of many wars in Holy Land and Eastern Europe between Christian kingdoms and the Ottoman Muslims.

The star accompanying the crescent... It appeared and disappeared many times. Moreover, the number of points varied. Maybe the five-pointed version was fixed because of the Five Pillars of Islam. But it's only a supposition.

Do you liked the post? Did you know the origin of the crescent moon symbolism? Please, leave a comment!


  1. Lovely and well informed thank you, I'm an Arab btw!

    1. Thanks for the compliments! I'm glad you liked.


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